Give them a day on the river, and they will thank you for a thrilling adventure.
We’re talking roller coaster waves and raft-gobbling holes with exploding currents churning through rocky passages and challenging drops and steep hydraulics.
Whitewater guides on New River know how to fire the souls of adventurous newcomers, keep their paddles blazing, and deliver everything a great river adventure should be—big water action and sensational scenery.
Folks at the various rafting companies have a superb instinct when it comes to challenging New River, the ultimate experience of the Eastern whitewater territory.
New River is a swirling storm of adventure, all right.
Her changing moods can make for a mind-altering ride, according to one veteran river guide.
Seated among a dozen eager passengers about to be engulfed by the frothing whitewater, the only thing you can do is swallow hard as you watch nearly 40,000 cubic-feet-per-second (cfs) of water smash through the narrow channels and then plunge down 15-foot drops.
The rolling waves seem to shatter jutting rock edges.
“Brace yourself!” screams one of the passengers in the rear of raft, packed with wide-eyed paddlers pushing out toward the raging foam between the immense mountains of the rocky gorge.
Rocks are strewn across the river, where the currents tumble steeply through a field of holes and boulders.
A pool of calm, quiet water lulls above every whitewater chute.
The paddlers paddle hard, their muscles sending the raft lunging out over the first ledge. The bow smashes into powerful cross currents, slamming boulder-size waves over the nose of the bucking-bronco craft and pushing the paddlers closer to the overhanging rock walls.
Gouges of aluminum and colored fiberglass on the rock wall tell their stories of other adventurous kayaking souls on the river. The waters whip the bow of the craft around toward the massive stone slabs while the paddlers instinctively twist the blades of their oars and pull hard.
The river lifts the raft skyward and heaves it broadside into a nearby boulder en route through the heaving turbulence. It bounces off a wall of water and gives one terrifying glance at the river’s ugly swirling eye.
The paddlers shoot into the calm water…
This is one of some 10,000 rafting adventures channeled through the gorge near Fayetteville.
Why is New River rapidly becoming the Mountain State’s largest tourist attraction? Perhaps it’s because of the river’s reverence for the wild and scenic waterways it serves.
The guides own a deep appreciation for each rapid, boulder and chute on the ancient waterway.
New River isn’t just another pretty face on the calendar of whitewater channels in America.
Hundreds of guides, outfitters and support personnel make people want to come back again and again.
“It isn’t what you bring to the river,” a river guide told me recently. “It’ what you take away: a bold awareness of a life that is beyond the limits of the heart.”
A prehistoric Indian tribe once believed a mysterious river goddess guarded a hidden passage to the shimmering shades of the spiritual world.
The river is waiting. It’s ready to lead you to your next adventure.
Top o’ the morning!